Volkswagen's Think Blue Factory in Chattanooga will serve as the blueprint for all new plants worldwide and has become a benchmark for environmental efficiency for all existing plants, Dr. Jan Spies, Volkswagen AG head of factory planning, said at the Center for Automotive Research's Management Briefing Seminar in Traverse City, Mich.
, on Wednesday.
Dr. Spies said Volkswagen is aiming to reduce its energy consumption by 25 percent and increase the renewable energy it uses by 2018 as part of the global Volkswagen Think Blue program. This applies especially to energy consumption, waste volumes, solvent emissions, water consumption and carbon dioxide emissions, he said. As Volkswagen AG builds new plants -- currently seven in China and an Audi plant in Mexico -- designers are using the Chattanooga plant as a sample, he stated.
Highlighting examples, Dr. Spies discussed the paint shop, which has one less spray booth and dryer than has been customary in traditional paint shops and doesn't need to use a primer coat of paint. This process alone reduces energy consumption by more than 20 percent. Volkswagen Chattanooga was the first plant to implement this energy-efficient paint process, and the method is being copied in Volkswagen plants around the world. Other energy efficient highlights of the plan include: The capturing of rainwater to cool equipment and flush toilets, six-inch insulation, and a newly added field of 33,600 solar panels that supply about 12 percent of the factory's power.
The Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga was the first automobile factory worldwide to receive platinum LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification by the US Green Building Council. Platinum certification confirms compliance with the most demanding standards for sustainable, environmentally compatible production.
"Through the growing efficiency and productivity of our plants, the Volkswagen brand is already making key contributions to the achievements of Group strategic targets for 2018," Dr. Spies said. "Sustainable, efficient production is a clear, competitive advantage. With its Think Blue. Factory. initiative, the Volkswagen brand is pursuing a clear strategy which pools all environmental activities at our plants throughout the world. Our ambitious targets for sustainable vehicle production have now been defined in a way which is clear and comprehensible for our customers."